Sexual Assault Loves Capitalism
When you go out, do you see pedophiles and rapists everywhere? When you go out, do you see orifices you would like to insert your body parts into? Do you tend to look fellow humans in the eye when you speak to them or do you address their body parts instead?
Sex is enjoyable and we enjoy it but is it really all we ever think about?
Granted, online porn is doing brisk business during lockdown but not everyone is stuck at home with someone they wanted to get naked with. Plus there’s no safer sex than solo sex but is it really that fun? For one 60-year old Philadelphia man whose niche is auto-fellatio content, it is.
When it comes to sex, human creativity is off the charts yet we remain bashful and awkward about the whole thing because we don’t have clarity on boundaries.
This is a cultural issue.
Growing up in a culture where every single aspect of human sexuality is taboo doesn’t prepare you for becoming sexually active. Growing up in a culture that doesn’t give you the educational and moral tools to claim sexual equality as a done deal doesn’t prepare you for becoming sexually active. Growing up in a culture where fear and finger-pointing rule doesn’t prepare you for becoming sexually active.
Often, fear and finger-pointing carry over into adulthood and turn you into the ideal populist, scared of your own shadow and anyone with reproductive organs of any kind.
Because sexual assault is an equal opportunity scourge.
How we seek to get our sexual needs met sometimes bypasses consent because, again, not everyone has clarity on boundaries. That’s where parenting, education, law enforcement, justice, and media come in, to help us understand what’s acceptable and what’s not.
And no matter how many times survivors put their personal narrative on the line to keep that conversation going, others keep fucking it up.
Because it pays.
Capitalism will grab human dignity by the nether regions and move on it like a bitch if we let it. Sensationalism — be it as media or social media— does exactly that.
And so Clickbait Karen works herself up into a lather after discovering another win-win-win scenario. When you can monetize your experience of sexual assault and be guaranteed exposure by riding the coat tails of nothing less that a US presidential election, that’s a win-win-win.
Always. Follow. The. Money.
Despite the noise surrounding both US presidential candidates — noise so surreally awful the Fed could decide to replace the judicial branch with the internet and turn the Constitution into toilet paper and no one would notice — we’re still not having the conversation we need to have about sexual assault.
Instead, you’ve got Clickbait Karen taking another deep dive into victimhood culture. This isn’t moving thinking forward. This isn’t even getting us all to sit around the table and have a polite chat about how we can learn to respect ourselves and one another.
It’s just adding trash to the fire that is our political, societal, and mental landscape because, again, it pays. Seeking personal enrichment at the expense of sexual assault survivors and, potentially, democracy, is a business model.
That’s beyond dystopia, that’s self-sabotage on a nationwide level.
I am a woman and I’ve had the good fortune of surviving sexual assault several times.
It had consequences.
One of them was being grilled behind closed doors by a county court judge and two lawyers about how impartial a juror I would be in a sexual abuse case concerning a minor. To this day, I’m glad my journalism background failed to sway the court, who could see my personal life was way too much of a red flag to let me serve. I assured them I remained committed to facts regardless of what had happened to me but they still spared me the ordeal of trial, thus restoring my faith in justice.
The experience I had pitching a sexual assault piece to an allegedly feminist now defunct news outlet was revelatory. My pitch was rejected because none of the things that happened to me were deemed original enough.
Sexual assault is commonplace.
That was the message so why would anyone need it packaged in a titillating shocker? The words you don’t write matter just as much as the ones you do.
But if the goal is compensation over compassion and conversation then it’s not activism, it’s capitalism masquerading as benevolent while maintaining the status quo because, again, it pays.
You don’t commodify private pain by kowtowing to all the clichés to achieve equality.
By claiming being honest as his superpower, Alex Jones unwittingly exposed a tried and tested populist formula for lining one’s pockets with the proceeds of outrage. And yet, him threatening to eat his neighbors received far more attention that his alleged supernatural honesty, never mind that he’s a noted conspiracy theorist who makes a living out of his self-aggrandizing victim narrative.
Abuse is not entertainment yet media still commodifies it.
Nothing will change until our morals, our ethics, our values do.
If you’re getting paid for milking victimhood, it’s on you. If you’re going to trick folks with words, why not trick them into seeing the problem from another perspective that involves dialogue?
Sure, you’re trying to trend because you’re desperate to be seen, heard, and paid. Aren’t we all desperate? The pandemic upended everything from our sense of self to our livelihoods, it’s not just you, it’s us.
Trusting ourselves and our peers to do the right thing is a generous and courageous approach but no one can agree on what the right thing looks like yet. So we need to secure the basics first and put human dignity center stage, at the very heart of this new world we’re moving into.
Alas, we’re still focused on monetizing human pain and suffering, even — and especially when — it’s our own. We optimize our words for maximum emotional ROI, like Honest Jones, like Trump, like Clickbait Karen. We want adulation, power, money, or love.
Words build bridges or they build walls; greed is the wall we keep hitting our heads against.
Populism is 2020’s personal brand, get paid now.
Or pay later.
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor now based in the Netherlands. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.